Elizabeth Fortson

Year: 2015
Affiliations: Earth and Planetary Sciences, Sociology, East Asian
Award: Woodrow Wilson

Project Description

Forest Worship, Ecological Stewardship, and Environmental Consciousness: Changing Conceptions of Nature Among the Naxi in Lijiang, China

The goal of this research project was to examine the effects of changing patterns of land use and cultural assimilation on an ethnic minority in Southwestern China and how these changes have affected their relationship with that which they perceive of as nature. My research project consisted of a series of unofficial interviews with scholars and Naxi people in Lijiang, Yunnan, concerning their perception of historic changes in forest health and their present day relationship with the forest. Results indicated that while land use changes in the twentieth century influenced the ways in which Naxi people utilized the forest, modern day Naxi sensibilities and environmental memories are less influenced by these changes in land use than they are by the more recent emergence of global political economies of indigeneity and forest conservation.

Mentor: Dr. Joel Andreas, Department of Sociology

PDF Document: Fortson, Elizabeth Final Paper

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